Vandalia Leader

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Local effort being organized in wake of Oklahoma tragedy

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 8:11 am

It’s hard not to be moved by the recent coverage of tornadoes that devastated homes and even an elementary school in Oklahoma.
As of press time, the death toll was downgraded from 51 to 24 after initial reports had 20 children being among the dead. Obviously with the devastation, the death toll will likely rise quickly as responders are able to continue their search.
Some of the elements from the storm were carried by the jet stream into Missouri where fortunately our state had little damage reported.
Reports just before press time include some damage in Hannibal but no confirmed deaths.
Please be sure to keep in prayer the families affected by this storm.
Living in the midwest and seeing the damage tornadoes can do should remind all of us to take these types of storms seriously.
Late Monday night, Vandalia was under a tornado watch. I followed the radar closely and noticed some extremely dark shade of red was over our town around 9-9:30 a.m. If you remember, that was when that loud crush of thunder came through, perhaps the loudest I’ve ever heard.
Noticing where we were on the radar, I made sure my family took shelter just in case. As I told my wife, I’d rather this be an annoyance to my family as we kept kids awake longer than they should have been, to ensure our safety in a nearby basement.
The weather during the tornado season is unpredictable and I think it’s important for all us to be safe during severe storms.
Vandalia resident David Ray is organizing an effort, with the help of his daughter Emma, to take items and cash directly to Moore, Okla.
Ray said he has a contact there who is a retired police officer and he would be taking anything collected directly to those who need it. He said cash would go towards his gas to get there and back. Anything extra would be donated to those in Moore, Okla.
Ray, who has been a police officer for nine plus years while working with EMS for three plus years, says he’s not randomly driving down there and dumping stuff off. He said he’s familiar with the public safety and emergency procedures. He added that the appropriate agencies know he’s coming.
Ray has a truck and a 6’x12’ enclosed trailer and will be leaving with his daughter on the trip early Friday morning. To make a donation, contact David Ray at 573-470-9069.